Culinary and Cultural Tour of India

Posted Jan 24th, 2018 under Photo Essay, Special Events, Trip Report,

[Kipling India Travels (KI) is a subsidiary of Explore Himalaya (EH). KI specializes in operating unique tours with class and comfort throughout India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. Some of the special tours being operated regularly by KI are culinary tours, Snow Leopard Tour, Birding Tour etc. In this series, we are writing about these tours to share the unique experiences had by KI clients to EH travelers so that our travelers will know, consider, or maybe plan for the next holiday. PHOTO CREDIT: Prakash Subba, Sr. Manager Operations and Business Development, Kipling India]

Travelling, to many, is scrambling over rocky faces, lolling in endless beaches or getting lost in the labyrinth of ancient civilizations. However, to some, it’s knowing the secret of culture by indulging in its food heritage. Kipling India with its tantalizing trip “Culinary & Cultural Tour” is catching this spirit of gastronomes for whom food is a serious business. This unique tour that combines the culinary virtuosity of Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Lucknow; embarks upon a journey of authentic Indian food culture where one can discover an energetic mélange of culture, aroma and flavors.

At Lucknow!

 In October 2015, Kipling India had its “all-lady” group of six members from the US and Canada. As it was the first time ever for both Kipling India and the visitors, the excitement was at par for both. The trip was a mix of culture, history and spiritual beauty while indulging the palate with exotic food and drink where the bustling populous land and its vibrancy reveal the true essence of a culturally rich country. This unique trip began in Delhi, where the members prowled the alleys in bazaar in search of tantalizing street food, luncheoned at a traditional Haweli, and explored the old city in rickshaw before heading to the magical city of Jaipur, where the adventurous food walk was accompanied by the heritage tour of Amber Fort. After the trip, they headed to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal, the wondrous architectural masterpiece and finally the whole tour culminated at Lucknow to experience the best of Awadhi cuisine before finally heading to Delhi. Since the tour is blend of cultural simplicity and culinary sophistication, no wonder, it is one of the best trips Kipling Travel has ever operated.

Rogan Gosh, a signature dish of non-veg Indian cuisine

Outline Program:

Day 01 : Arrive Delhi.

Day 02 : Tour of the city with cooking class.

Day 03 : Food walk of Old Delhi.

Day 04 : Drive to Jaipur (280 kms/06 hrs). Evening food walk.

Day 05 : Tour of the city with cooking class.

Day 06 : Drive to Agra (250 kms/05 hrs) via FatepurSikri.

Day 07 : Visit Taj Mahal and Fort. Evening food walk.

Day 08 : Express train to Lucknow (05 hrs). Dinner of Awadhi cuisine.

Day 09 : Tour of the city with Culinary walk in the evening.

Day 10 :Tour of the city with cooking class.

Day 11 : Fly Delhi. Evening farewell dinner.

Day 12 : Depart Delhi for home.

Kala Jamun and Gujiya: Indian Palate is incomplete without Sweet Delicacies

Detailed Activities:

25 Oct: Upon their arrival in Delhi, they were greeted with warm welcome and then transferred to their hotel. At hotel the briefing session added real fuel to their excitement.

26 Oct: If you think today is the day of ruins, forts and statues, you’d be wrong! The tour started with food walk of Old Delhi, where the guests experienced heritage and bazaar walk, cycle rickshaw ride with some street food tasting followed by local home visit with traditional lunch in a Haveli (Old private mansion). Delhi is a city of fascinating contrasts where the old and new, cultural and contemporary, rural and urban, all blend harmoniously. Food walks in Old Delhi can be best enjoyed in its original setting, in noisy labyrinthine by lanes of Chawri Bazaar and Chandni Chowk. The dishes on can savor in Old Delhi are large, thick and juicy jalabis, Aloo Chaat (Crisp fried potato) dunked in a mélange of chutneys; varieties of stuffed paranthas (potato, onion, cottage cheese, cauliflower etc). For desserts one can try out the creamy, delicious phirni and Kulfi. Followed by city tour of New Delhi, the guests really enjoyed the visit to Sikh Temple (Bangla Sahab Gurudwara) to witness the Community kitchen and try their hands on making rotis (Chapatis).

A medley of mouth freshner

Kulfi, a popular Indian ice-cream

27/28 Oct: After Delhi they departed to Jaipur, the Pink City and the Capital of Rajasthan, the city which has always fascinated visitors with its vibrant people, magnificent forts and food.  They spent two days in this magical city to experience the magnificent Amber Fort and amazing food walk. The walk gave them a fantastic experience of street food, colorful shops and plenty of photo opportunities. Compared to Delhi, Food walk in Jaipur is different for its much organized lanes and colorful shops. They visited LMB (Laxmi Mistan Bhandar) sweet shop, one of the oldest restaurants established in 1949. It is famous for its delicious snacks like Paneer Ghewar, Doodh Feeni, Rasmalai etc to name a few.

Tandoori Kabab, one of the most loved chicken dishes in India

29 Oct: Today is the day when the guests had the opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal, the mausoleum that defines architectural grandeur and immortalized love. They left  just before sunrise to be the first in line to visit the Taj Mahal in the cool morning and in the best light. The best part at this time in the morning is there are so few tourists you practically have the Taj to yourself- No crowds to fight through and plenty of opportunities to take photos in the most dramatic lighting. The Taj experience was an incredibly moving experience to them. In the evening they proceeded for food walk in the busy non-touristy market where they indulged in some of Agra’s best local food and sweets including Petha, Kababs and Kulfi (Indian Ice cream).

Indian Dessert, a fusion of simplicity and sophistication!

30 Oct: They boarded the Shatabdi train early in the morning for a six hour comfortable ride to Lucknow, the city of the Nawabs which is  famous all over the world for its Tehzeeb, “the graceful etiquette”. It can very well termed as a city that has carved a niche by attracting gastronomes for the want of discovering and re – discovering the Awadhi Cuisine. Lucknow has a colony of chefs called “Bawarchi Tola”. In the evening guests were treated with Awadhi dinner. They had experienced the concept of food loyalty and the real taste of the original Tundey Kebabs, Raheem’s Nihari and Mobeen’s Pasanda Kebabs. Besides food tasting tours, they had an Awadhi cooking session with an expert at the place of a local host to give them a first-hand experience on the use of spices and method of making an authentic Indian Cuisine. The cooking workshop was followed by an orientation session.

Learning by Doing

After Cooking Session

Farewell Dinner at Indian Accent

Food tasting at Lucknow

31 Oct: On the last day we flew back to Delhi and in the evening we concluded our tour with an amazing farewell dinner at Indian Accent, the restaurant popular for showcasing inventive Indian cuisine by complementing the flavors and traditions of India with global ingredients and techniques. Indian Accent is the only award winning Indian restaurant to be featured in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017.

01 Nov: As it is said every good thing must come to an end, the concluding day of this eventful tour also came close. The guests bade final goodbye with lots of memories to cherish forever.

Farewell Dinner at Indian Accent

This tour made a simple traveler a sophisticated foodie who explored the culinary maze with closed eyes and let their taste buds do the rest! Kipling India’s Culinary tours stood out as it operated in small group rather than a bus full of strangers, with a local host that made them feel quite at home. The whole experience allowed them to be connected with trendy neighborhoods with smart cafés, bars, restaurants and interesting shops and boutiques. They also used the metro and auto rickshaws to zoom around these places with ease – just like a local. In the meantime, however, they didn’t miss the opportunity to focus major sites but in a whole interesting way. To sum up, the members had the experience of lifetime that feasts both their soul and palate! If you are also interested in experimenting your taste buds and being a member of the gastronome community in some of the finest cultural cities, the trip is the made for you!

 

 

 

The Himalayan Grey Ghost, an Ultimate Snow Leopard Tour

Posted Jan 21st, 2018 under Special Events, Trip Report, Wildlife & Bird Watching,

[Kipling India Travels (KI) is a subsidiary of Explore Himalaya (EH). KI specializes in operating unique tours with class and comfort throughout India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. Some of the special tours being operated regularly by KI are culinary tours, Snow Leopard Tour, Birding Tour etc. In this series, we are writing about these tours to share the unique experiences had by KI clients to EH travelers so that our travelers will know, consider, or maybe plan for the next holiday. ]  

Precarious climbs and steep falls, bone chilling cold and heart-warming sights, simple trails and meaningful journeys, all embracing mountains and a mythic-like rarity! These are the images that come to mind when we think about snow leopard. To many, it’s still a fantasy to behold the Himalayan gem right in front of the eyes. However, Kipling India’s incredible expedition “The Himalayan Grey Ghost” makes it possible; and let you live through all these and even more.

The Snow Leopard tour that takes you on a journey of Matthiessenian experience to one of the most impressive lands on Earth allows one to have an epic experience of both adventure and enlightenment. However, nothing is promised about such an enigmatic cat who is a master at camouflaging but it is always believed that if you give to nature, nature will give back to you! All you need is a lot of patience and a bit of faith!

Snow Leopard

On 04 Feb 2017, Kipling India had a group of 5 enthusiasts from USA to embark on this extraordinary journey of spotting Snow Leopard. Starting from Leh, which was once the glorious capital of Himalayan Kingdom Ladakh, the team journeyed through one of the harshest terrains to station at Rumbak, the Snow Leopard capital of the world. After surviving in the thin cold air in the wilderness for about a week, the team’s ultimate test of patience and perseverance was paid off. Though that was the only time they spotted this enigmatic masterpiece, they have truly become one among the few lucky travelers who could have otherwise felt themselves fortunate just to see the mountains.

Outline Itinerary:

Day 01: Delhi Arrival

Day 02: Delhi / Leh

Day 03: Sightseeing at Leh

Day 04: Leh – Zinchen – Rumbak

Day 05-13: Rumbak

Day 14: Rumbak – Zinchen – Leh

Day 15: Leh/Delhi

Day 16: Departure from Delhi

Detailed Activities:

04 Feb 2017: All the group members arrived at Delhi International airport for the most awaited journey. It was then followed by meeting and greeting, and checking in hotel- something usual prior to any trip. However, there was a lot of anticipation and excitement- something that made even the arrival day extraordinary.

05 Feb 2017: An early morning flight from Delhi took the members to Leh airport, from where they were picked by Kipling representatives to hotel. The flight of about 1 and 15 mins was not less than an adventure in itself. The fleeting landscape, the dramatic altitudes and the abrupt switch from the humidity of Delhi to bewitching cold desert of Leh was like showcasing the whims of nature. Leh is a small town with compact red mud brick houses and narrow lanes.  With its Ladhaki architecture, Buddhist life style and unmistakable mod cons of a touristic centre, it’s not that difficult to fall in love with this place. The members rested the whole day for acclimatization.

A local at Leh Bazaar

A local at Leh Bazaar

06 Feb 2017: The day started with touring activities from early morning. The members observed prayers at monastery and explored the former Palace of the King of Ladakh, the architectural icon of Leh. Built in the 17th century after the model of Potala Palace in Lhasa, and now undergoing restoration, the Palace stands sentinel overlooking the town of Leh. The visit was followed by a drive to Hemis monastery situated 45 km from Leh. The monastery belongs to Dugpa Kargyutpa order or Red Sect of Buddhism and is enriched with a large number of Thangkas or paintings, which are exhibited during Hemis festival, one of the famous festivals in Ladakh.

07 Feb 2017: After spending two magical days in Leh city, the time had finally come to leave the civilization behind, and set off for the true adventure. They drove for an hour to Zinchen, which is the entrance of Hemis National Park. The Hemis High Altitude National Park extends over 4400 sq kms and is widely known for some rare species like snow leopard and bharal (Blue Sheep).  It has the highest density of Snow Leopards of all protected areas in the world. The Park is home to six villages Rumbak, Kaya, Sku, Shingo, Urutse and Chilling that inhabit about 1,600 people.

From Zinchen, they had to cover the rest of the journey on foot. They were accompanied by a pony man and his 6 mules loaded with gears and camping equipments to carry to the camp at Rumbak, their stopover for the whole Snow Leopard session. Rumbak (4050m) a small village of 10 – 12 households clustered together, is set amidst rolling mountains and green valley in Hemis National Park. Often referred to as the Snow Leopard capital of the world, it is the most distinguished spot in the world for Snow Leopard sightings in the winter from Mid December till Mid March. However, the place is equally rewarding for spotting other wildlife native to the place like Urials, Blue Sheep, Wolves etc.

08 – 16 Feb 2018: The group spent the next 10 days with their guide Gyalson and Gurmet both with hands-on experience of multiple hikes in the ridges in search of Snow Leopard. They were expert in tracking the minutest evidences like pugmarks, scrapes and scats in the harsh terrain. The area around the Rumbak catchment is one of the best places in the world to see these mythical cats.

Every morning, in this sparsely vegetated alpine zone, was like a ritual. It used to start in quietude and humility- watching the silent sunrise, the enormity of the mountains around and being aware about one’s existence in the vastness of the wild. Not something we can appreciate every day! Stepping out of a tent into the valley erased the concerns of lack of shower or running water.

A regular day at camp

Over the next several days the daily routine didn’t really change as the guides were scouting for Snow Leopard signs and possible sightings from first ray until last light. In the meantime, they also visited the junction of Husing Nala and Tarbung Nala including the high ridge lines. Each day after breakfast group members hiked up the main Lato Nala vantage point at Rumbak Sumdo and spent the day scanning Kharlung Valley and the adjoining areas. It became very apparent from the moment when group members entered this beautiful yet hostile terrain that it would be very difficult to see a Snow Leopard.

A Himalayan Wild Goat

A Himalayan Wild Goat

The guides spent the whole time just watching for clues and signs through telescopes. While group members were looking for the Snow Leopard, group members had many opportunities to observe and photograph other mammals that inhabit these mountains. The Bharal or Blue Sheep is the most common, and the group members also spotted Wolly Hare, alpine birds and tracks of Red Foxes during daily hikes.

An awaiting camera ready for the magical moment! 

THE MAGICAL DAY!!!

The Big Day finally arrived! The group members were having breakfast when they heard some commotion outside the dining tent. Naturally they got up and went outside when the guides gave them the news they had been longing to hear for last few days. Yes, there had been a sighting of a Snow Leopard on the mountain overlooking their camp. Everyone then made a scramble to their own tents to get their camera gear and get properly dressed. Those few moments of nerve wrecking excitement yet the necessity to remain calm, was later on described as a blur memory by the members.

Can anyone spot Him?

Once they reached the spot, the guides helped them to set up cameras to locate the Snow Leopard high up on the mountain ridge but made sure to be carefully hidden and out of sight. The members just lay down in the morning sun without a care in the world, and started feasting their eyes, and most probably their soul too. Nature finally opened up and gave them what they asked for!

Over the next few days all walked and trekked over frozen rivers and steep valleys and ridges once more to the places the guides knew and had seen Snow Leopards in the past. Each day returning to the little “Home” nestled between the mountain ranges of the Indian Himalayas, was a different person than the one who left it in the morning. As said before, days without the spot was also not wasted, they got to traverse through some of the most stunning landscapes on planet, with occasional sightings of soaring eagles and vultures. Blue Sheep appearing from the shadows, watching humans, then carrying on with their lives, all in full view was just next to magical.

The Home of Snow Leopard as misty as Him

Amongst the fit of adventure also, everyone was well aware about the necessity of being healthy in such extreme condition. It was taken care beyond appreciation by Lobzang, the chef and helpers Stanzin and Rigzen by making it possible to make fresh, warm and tasty food in such next-to- impossible place. They also made sure that the group members get their food on time, whether in camp or in distant spots.  On one of the days where group members walked up to a vantage point or pass, they visited a homestay high up around 4500m above sea level. It was run by one of the guides Gurmet’s sister and her family. Though it was a bit of tough walk to get there as the oxygen seemed to be disappearing, the members were mesmerized by the warm hospitality and the wonderful decor of the rooms and kitchen.

17 Feb 2017: On last day in Hemis Natinoal Park before heading back to Leh, the members packed up and the whole team took down all the tents and loaded everything onto the mules and donkeys for the walk to pick-up point which would take around an hour. The heavy-hearted members bade the last farewell to the mountains which was their home for last ten days. Once again the place was empty but it treasured some unforgettable moments of some curious hearted people from distant land who dared to take up the journey to this end, just to behold the exceptional gift of nature.

So, finally everything came to an end! But it was like a new beginning to the members. They returned back to the hustle and bustle, to the madding crowd – but this time with memories to last the lifetime! 

If you also want to be an elite adventurer, a humble soul-seeker, an achiever of a rarity or a beholder of “a terrible beauty, with its uncompromising yellow eyes, wired into the depths of its unfathomable spirit, gazing out from the cover of innumerable editions” as described by Peter Matthiessen in his classic travel book “The Snow Leopard”, you are welcome to this lifetime adventure in the Himalayas. Who knows you can be the next one to be privileged!

 

 

 

 

CKY School Ghorepani Ghandruk Circuit Trek, a Travel with Purpose!

Posted Dec 31st, 2017 under Photo Essay, Special Events, Trip Report,
CKY School at Tirkhedhunga

At Tirkhedhunga

Travelling can be more than just indulging and entertaining oneself. The recent “CKY School Ghorepani-Ghandruk Circuit Trek” organized by Explore Himalaya in partnership with Travel Advisor (Hong Kong) proved it right. Like any other trip in Annapurna region, this trek was also packed with exploration of incredible nature and amazing culture. However, what sets it apart is the meaning the students’ group has given to the trip by creating positive impacts on the communities they visited.

Annapurna Conservation Area Entry Point

Annapurna Conservation Area Entry Point

Suspension Bridge at Ghandruk

Crossing a Suspension Bridge at Ghandruk

CKY School Ghorepani-Ghandruk Circuit Trek that started from 10th Dec to 14th Dec 2017, had 22 members including 18 students and 4 teachers from Hong Kong. The trek starting point was Birethati, from where it continued through Tirkhedunga, Ghorepani, Tadapani, Ghandruk; and culminated once again in Birethati making a complete loop. Their typical trek day was a bit different from the normal trekkers’. Apart from enjoying the natural wonders typical of the region, at each stopover, they intermingled with the local communities, visited schools and health posts, donated educational materials and medical supplies, shared experiences with students and developed connectivity with local guardians. And at the end of each day, they had an experience exchange session in which they shared their thoughts on the day’s activities, which helped them to reflect on their experiences and gain a new perspective on life.

At Ghandruk Health Post

At Ghandruk Health Post

Altogether they helped four schools and health posts namely Bhume Adharbhut Bidhyalaya at Hille, Ulleri Health Post at Ulleri, Ghandruk Health Post and Meshram Barahi Maa School at Ghandruk. In between the caring and sharing, however, they also didn’t miss the opportunity to relish the beauty of Annapurna region including a trip to Poonhill, a not-to-be-missed viewpoint known for magnificent sunrise view in the Himalayas. At Ghandruk, they enjoyed cultural show organized by “AamaSamuha”, literally mothers’ group, which gave them more insights on the culture of the region.

At Poonhill

At Poonhill

Participating in a cultural program by Aamma Samuha

Participating in a cultural program by Aamma Samuha

After the completion of the trek, on 15th Dec the students visited Rainbow Orphanage Home in Pokhara where they donated sports materials and clothes to the orphanage. They also drew a colorful mural on a canvas with fingerprints and beautiful message, and gifted it to them. They also played football, volleyball and rugby with the children, which added a fun element to their visit. As rugby game is new to Nepali people, the children really enjoyed the sport which was sure to take few days for them to get off the memories. The students’ visit to the orphanage ended the whole trip in a rewarding note. The trip, for sure, has helped the students to foster a better understanding of life and be an insightful person when they returned home.

At Rainbow Orphanage Home 

The team of Explore Himalaya takes pride in being a partner of the program which has helped to redefine the meaning of travelling in the Himalayas, especially for young travelers. We want to extend our gratitude to all the supporters including the crew and local communities who made this remarkable project possible. And once again thanks to CKY School for making a difference!

CKY School Teachers enjoying a regular breakfast day in the Himalaya

Teachers enjoying a regular breakfast day in the Himalaya

 

 

 

11 Malaysians at Everest Base Camp

Posted Dec 1st, 2017 under Interviews, Photo Essay, Trekking & Hiking, Trip Report,
Malaysian Trekkers with their national flag at Everest Base Camp

Malaysian Trekkers with their national flag at Everest Base Camp (5357m)

Nepal never ceases to amaze people from all round the globe. And Malaysians, who are now one of the most seasoned travelers in South-East Asia, are no exception! This autumn Explore Himalaya is quite happy to welcome a group of 11 Malaysian travelers led by our old friend Mr. Song Poh. What makes the trip more special is we were not welcoming Mr Song Poh and his close friend Ms. Yogaranee Balaratnam Thambayah, aged 73, for the first time in Nepal. For Yogaranee, it was the forth time and for Song Poh it was the second time with us, and after almost 20 years! 

Malaysian trekkers at Tenzing Norgay Sherpa monument in Namche Bazar (3450m)

At Tenzing Norgay Sherpa monument in Namche Bazar (3450m)

The Malaysian group did the classic Everest Base Camp Trek from 07 November to 24 November. The group, which was a great combination of multi-age people ranging from 30 to 73, includes Song Poh (Leader), Yong Kek Loong, Yogaranee Balaratnam Thambayah, Tan Hooi Nee, Ting Choo Hew, Sitta V Kanagasabai, Ling Keoi Tai, Lim Ka Tin, Kalaiarasy Subramaniam, Tan Kim Chan and Wong Kok Seong.  The group itself looked like a collective family, a close-knit travelling community – and the trek to Everest Base Camp was quite an ideal trip for them to share, care and create memories.

On the way to Tengboche (3864m)

On the way to Tengboche (3864m)

Song Poh and Yogaranee are frequent travelers to Nepal with Song Poh coming to Nepal for record 12 times and Yogaranee 5 times. However, to many the trip was the first one ever. So there was a lot of anticipation and excitement right after they landed in Kathmandu (1400m). The trip started with a city tour to the ancient treasures of Nepal including Bouddha, Pashupatinath, Patan Durbar Square and Swoyambhu. The trip not only gave a real insight to the history of Kathmandu Valley, but also offered a wonderful spectacle of the mesmerizing cultural fusion of Hinduism and Buddhism being practiced since time immemorial. However, the tour just served as a savory to kick start the most awaited trip to the Himalayas.

Song Poh, the group leader, posing with Himalayas at the backdrop

Song Poh, the group leader, with a perfect backdrop of Teboche, Everest (8848m), Nuptse (7861m) and Ama Dablam (6856m) [from left to right).

Ranee aged 73, the eldest member at the hilltop overlooking Namche

Yogaranee Balaratnam Thambayah aged 73, the eldest member of the trip at a hilltop overlooking Namche

The real adventure started on the third day, with a flight to Lukla (2860m), in which the members got to enjoy the scenic Himalayan vistas before the real beginning of the trek. Once in Lukla, the whole members felt the crispy chill of the mountain air, much different from the humidity of Kathmandu. Then, started the real trek that would last for next two weeks, through the meandering stony trail along Dudh Koshi river. Throughout the trek, the weather was exceptionally clear and the views were top-notch as if the Himalayas wanted to flaunt all its glory in one go.

A well-earned rest at Everest-Inn Namche

A well-earned rest at Everest-Inn Namche

The more the members went higher, the more they were exposed to the elements of nature. The more they were intimate to the nature, the more they experienced the grandeur of the Himalaya in its purest essence, from the first sight of Everest from Namche (3450m) to the panoramic view of Everest from Kalapathar (5545m). On reaching the Base Camp (5357m)-the ultimate point of their monumental achievement- they rejoiced, unfurled their national flag and captured all the moments in their memories. On the way back, they shared their experiences, re-captured the moments and bid the last bye to the land of Everest before flying back to Kathmandu. At the end of the trip our Malaysian friends, quite rejuvenated after the Himalayan experience, wished to come back to Nepal again and again. Explore Himalaya feels delighted to make their Everest dream possible and looks forward to travelling with them in the Himalaya in future as well. Congratulations to all the trekkers and best wishes for your next adventure!    

At Pheriche (4252m)

At Pheriche (4252m)

Before flying back home, Explore Himalaya had a tete-e-tete with Mr. Song Poh, the team leader.  An extract of the conversation:

 EH: How was your first experience in Nepal? How is it now? Do you find any kind of difference?

Songpoh: Well, first time it was totally different because I had never done trekking in the Himalayas. But after coming here I found it such an awesome place that makes me coming back almost every alternate year. 

EH: Which part of Nepal have you visited so far?

Songpoh: I think Annapurna 6/7 times, Langtang once, Khumbu-this is my second time.

EH: Which part do you think is comparatively better?

Songpoh: They are all unique, in their own way. I will say like Annapurna is beautiful, Langtang is beautiful, they are beautiful in their own way. They have their own speciality. 

EH: How many members do you have in this trip?

Song Poh: In this trip, we are 11 including myself.

EH: Your group looked like a mixed age group. What is the range of the age group?

Song Poh: The average age would be above 50, some in the region of 70. The eldest member is Ranee aged 73, a close friend of mine. She has been here 6/7 times. She was here together with me twenty years ago and she keeps on coming back. The youngest member is 31.

EH: How was the trip as a whole?

Songpoh: It has been a successful trip to Everest Base Camp. Some of my friends are first time in the Himalayas. It was worth enjoying the every moment of the trip.

EH: How was the weather since it counts much when you are travelling in altitude?

Song Poh: The weather was cold and harsh. But the visibility was superb, you can never imagine such clear blue sky back in my country any more. Here in the Himalayas, everything was so clear and nice.

EH: What is the feedback of your team members?

Song Poh: Very good question! I have asked to my team members, “Do you want a refund for what you have paid for?” They say straight “No” for that adventure.

EH: So they get the value of their money?

Song Poh: Yeah, they get the value of their money. I think what they are doing is they are buying for the experience which they can never get anywhere else in the world.

EH: How is travelling in Nepal different from other parts of the world?

Song Poh: Every country is unique in its own way. I won’t say Thailand is more beautiful and Nepal is not….no, no.  Nepal has got its own uniqueness and Thailand has its own in terms of its natural setting

EH: So are you planning to travel in Nepal in future as well?

Song Poh: Well that could be after the successful trip to Everest Base Camp. This is my second time to Everest. I travelled in many regions. I would like to try Manaslu next time.

EH: And what about the western parts like Rara and Dolpo, and eastern most part like Kanchanjugha?

Songpoh: Yeah, why not? If I have the opportunity and I have the means to do it, chances are yes.

EH: Is there any recommendation/suggestion for us? Have you ever felt like had these things been done, it would have been much better? Any thoughts on it?

Songpoh:  From my personal accounts, logistics provided by the company are the important part. You know that you are backed up by a good company, able to get things done for you, and next thing the trekkers are mostly new to this region. We don’t know the language but we get help by helpful staffs. Our adventure is more meaningful, they are able to take care, to see our needs, Malaysians have their own unique demands. That’s the most important part. So you know, what are the demands of Malaysian trekkers, maybe you can look into that matter. Both trekkers and company should act more responsibly.  

EH: If you are to give a message to other people who are planning to come to Nepal, what would you like to say?

Song Poh: Nepal has something what the world cannot provide, the uniqueness of its environment, the natural setting of the mountains, the friendly people and if anybody who is a keen trekker or ardent trekker, I think they shouldn’t miss the Nepali Himalayas. It is one of the most awesome trekking routes that you can ever imagine. Nepal has it all.

EH: Is there anything you want to say, something which you feel is missed to say?

Song Poh: If you want to do the ultimate trekking, I think Nepal is the place because they have the infrastructures, logistics, they have the people to do it. Personally to me, Nepal has been a fantastic place. Maybe I’m coming again, I don’t know when but definitely! So we are coming back again.

EH: Thank you for your time!

At Hotel Marshyangdi, Kathmandu

At Hotel Marshyangdi, Kathmandu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nepal charms Russian Incentive Group

Posted May 23rd, 2016 under Company News, Interviews, Trekking & Hiking, Trip Report,

Explore Himalaya recently organized an incentive trip to Nepal for mid to high level employees of a Russian company, MTS. The group trekked through the hills of Sindhupalchowk, rounding up their trek with an exciting bungee and swinging adventure at ‘The Last Resort’ located near Kodari, the Nepal-Tibet border. Explore Himalaya caught up with the group on their return to Kathmandu and talked with some of the group leaders. Here’s what they had to say:


– Konstantin,  Moscow
“Explore Himalaya did a very good job of organizing this trip. The staff were very friendly and the trek was an unforgettable experience! I can talk about it for hours!! Our guide was very polite, friendly, told us many interesting things about the life of the Nepalese. We really enjoyed it, and had the most favorable impression. The bungee jump and the subsequent tour of Kathmandu were very impressive. I jumped twice – swing and bungee.

The support staff and guides from Explore Himalaya were all very polite, alert and did their best to make our stay comfortable and enjoyable.After the completion of the trip, I realized how difficult it must have been for Explore Himalaya to organize this trek. Obviously a lot of hard work has gone into organizing this trip and I commend Explore Himalaya for organizing it so smoothly. Surprises were at every turn – in the city, and during the trek but everything got solved. Trekking was a pleasant experience for me. The weather helped us and we were able to see the snow capped Himalayan mountains. It was a daunting organizational challenge, but kudos to Explore Himalaya for making a success of it. With so many uncontrollable factors, everything was organized perfectly!”

Happy Explorers

an fantastic trekking tour to Annapurna and I am very grateful to the team from Explore Himalaya

- Susan Mary Nielsen, Denmark Read Testimonials | Submit Your Testimonial

Community Service

Community Service

We work with the motto "Tourism for Development". Explore Himalaya Community Service Project was conceived to empower underprivileged segments of Nepal.

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